Oct. 16, 2012
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Rice University golf played three consistent rounds at the Lone Star Invitational to claim a share of ninth place with a 305-299-301-905 (+41). The Owls opened the tournament in 12th place after Sunday's opening round before improving to 10th on Monday and eventually settling into a tie with Sacramento State after 54 holes of competition at Hill Country Resort Golf Club.
A virus with effects matching those of food poisoning affected Rice and others among the 15 teams competing on the 6,931-yard par-72 course. Several Owls were stricken with the bug and Ryan Benevides was one of seven players in the field of 84 who was unable to compete in Tuesday's final round.
Jeff Wibawa led the depleted Rice squad, as the junior carded a three-day 73-72-73-218 (+2) to tie for 12th place. The Encino, Calif. native, who won the tournament last year at Briggs Ranch, posted 10 birdies at the 2012 edition and led the Owls for a second-straight tournament.
Brock Wilson battled illness to help carry the Owls on Tuesday as he tallied his best round of the season. After firing rounds of 77 and 76, Wilson paced Rice with an even-par 72 on Tuesday to wrap up 33rd place with a 225 (+9). The senior holed a pair of birdies in each round and added a team-best 14 pars on Tuesday.
Wilson was followed closely by Joe Beck III, who remained consistent throughout the tournament at 75-76-76-227 (+11), good for 39th place. It marked the fourth top-40 finish of the season for the Austin native.
Landon Michelson rounded out the short-handed Rice squad on Tuesday to settle into a tie for 62nd place. After knocking in six birdies in Monday's second round the junior wrapped up the event with an 80-75-80-235 (+19).
Before becoming ill, Benevides made his season debut with rounds of 82 and 87 through the tournament's first 36 holes.
No. 46 Houston made quite the charge on Tuesday to claim the team title. The Cougars trailed leader No. 35 North Texas by 12 strokes heading into the final round, but shot a 275 (-13) to top the Mean Green by four strokes at 866 (+2).
Also competing from Conference USA, Southern Miss dropped to 11th place, two strokes behind Rice.
North Texas' Rodolfo Cazaubon claimed the individual medal with a 212 (-4), two strokes ahead of four second-place finishers.
The ninth-place finish matched the team's best since Emil took the helm prior to the 2011-12 season. Rice also finished ninth at the Argent Financial Classic last March and earlier this month at the Jim Rivers Intercollegiate.
The Owls wrap up the fall season on Nov. 5-6 at the Redwolves Fall Beach Classic in Gulf Shores, Ala.